The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) announces its Emergency Relief Fund for Artists (ERFA) established this past week to address the immediate economic needs of local professional artists who have experienced loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications will be accepted weekly through CAA’s website, and grant awards will be available within one week of approval.

A fundraising campaign has also been launched to ensure that funds remain available as long as necessary. Walton County residents and CAA Members Shawn and Richard Tomasello have already pledged a matching donation of $100,000 for the fund and challenge other individuals, businesses, and foundations to quickly donate to the fund in order to meet the needs of artists who have experienced significant loss of income. “We feel so blessed to be part of such an active art community,” said CAA Board Member Shawn Tomasello. “With that blessing comes a sense of commitment to those who make our world more interesting and beautiful.”

Donations to the emergency relief fund can be made online at CulturalArtsAlliance.com/Donate and through the phone by texting ‘CaaArtistRelief’ to 76278. All donations, less any processing fees, will go directly to artists.

“The emergency relief fund process was created to be simple and easy so we can quickly meet the needs of our valued artists,” said CAA Executive Director Jennifer Steele. “How many times have we asked artists to donate their work and time for our and others’ worthy causes? It is critical for the CAA to lead this effort to give artists a boost of support during this time.”

ERFA grants are available to individual professional working artists of all disciplines who live or work in Walton County, FL and have lost income because of the cancellation of a specific, scheduled gig or opportunity or a temporarily or permanently closed business due to COVID-19 precautionary measures. Artists can request up to $1,000 during the first grant period to compensate for income that was lost between February 28 and May 29, 2020.

The program is designed for artists who are struggling to meet their basic needs (food, shelter, medical, supplies) due to loss of artistic income from COVID-19. Artists who do not make the majority of their income from their work as an artist or have other significant sources of income are asked not to apply so that those who are most vulnerable can be served. Priority will be given to applicants who are full-time Walton County residents and to requests made due to cancellation of opportunities that were to occur in Walton County. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.

Visit CulturalArtsAlliance.com/Artist-Resources to review the full grant guidelines and complete the online application. Artists may be awarded only once during the first grant period. A second grant period may be added based on need and available funds. If an application is denied for any reason, the artist may reapply within the same grant period.